Depending on the stage of the organisations' internationalisation and strategy, organisations differ in their approach to expatriation. In any case, the complex process of selecting, training and managing expatriates has to be carefully planned from the moment of creating the job through the assignment and then the repatriation or the next move of the expatriate.

Extensive research and Tungli Consulting's own experience proves that numerous issues should be considered to ensure the success of expatriate assignments:

Strategic aspects to optimise:
  • Rational: expatriates versus locals
    Is the reason for using expatriates setting up new operations, controlling operations, spreading the company culture, creating an internationally experienced group of employees, or something else? The answers to these questions will also determine what levels or positions your company wants to fill: Junior, middle or senior managers? Specialists?
  • Optimal geographic locale
    Depending on the above reasons, where does the company need expatriates? How many? Is there local talent available or to be developed? Do locals support or oppose having expatriates?
  • Duration and scope of assignments
    Considering the local situation, is it better to have long-term expatriates, or will short-term assignments suffice? Can expatriates go on commuter and unaccompanied assignments?
  • The expatriates
    Home country employees, third country nationals, inpatriates? Should they be company employees or come from outside the company? How to encourage and support women to become expatriates? What about dual-career couples?

Operational aspects to optimise:
  • Identification of new expatriate staff
    Is there a global database? Do you advertise for a position worldwide, regionally or simply follow up personal referrals?
  • Selection criteria
    Technical knowledge, managerial and leadership skills, the expatriate's willingness to accept the assignment, educational qualifications, previous experience, gender, language knowledge, knowledge of the location of the assignment, the ability to work in teams, international experience, personality factors or something else?
  • Expatriate partners, spouses and families
    What is your policy on dual-career couples? Does your company have any contact (i.e. informal dinner, structured interview) with the partner before the expatriate accepts the job? Do you have some kind of spousal support? Do you offer money and/or job search assistance? Is there an internal network of spouses the new assignee's family can tap into?
  • Expatriate training
    Technical training, language training or cross-cultural training? Is the cross-cultural training culture-specific? Does the length of the training depend on the country of the assignment and the position? Do you offer follow-up training on-site? Do you have in-company trainers or do you use external consultants?
  • Other expatriate/family assistance
    Can the family go for an orientation visit, do you offer educational and partner job search assistance? Do you offer home visits? Is there an easy and regular way for the expatriates to keep in touch with the home office? Do you have a newsletter or a web-site for expatriates to communicate with each other as well as with the home location?
  • Evaluating performance of expatriates
    Who evaluates the performance of expatriates? Do you use the same methods as for non-expatriates? How can you identify poor performance?
  • Career planning for expatriates
    What happens after the assignment? Do expatriates have a guaranteed job? Can they use their international experience in future jobs?
  • Organisational learning: Internalising expatriate knowledge
    Do talented expatriates do mentoring for other, perhaps younger and/or more inexperienced expatriates? Do you in some way "collect" the technical and/or cultural knowledge expatriates and their families gain during their foreign assignments?
  • Ensuring development of local talent
    Are expatriates also evaluated based on how they develop local talent? Do expatriates assist in providing training, if necessary, for the locals?
Role of Tungli Consulting: In close co-operation with the HR director of the company Tungli Consulting designs, re-designs and implements expatriate policies and practices. As complementary services, it also offers various training courses and on-line consultation for expatriates.

Outsourcing Expatriate Management

Increasingly, organisations are recognising the benefits of outsourcing the administration of their expatriate management. As a special service, Tungli Consulting can take care of the cultural side of expatriate management for you. Our aim is to ensure that foreign assignments have a long-lasting and positive effect on both your organisation and the expatriates themselves.

Our services include training your expatriates and managing the relationship with them before, during and after their assignment. Tungli Consulting can assist you in building and managing an internet-based discussion forum and information resource for your organisation’s expatriates. We can produce a regular expatriate newsletter and, over the course of the assignment, we can compile an “expatriate story book” for the company. The storybook and newsletter serve as ongoing resources for capturing and sharing the learning and experiences relevant to your organisation’s specific situations.